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Husband Joins Army So Cancer-Stricken Wife Can Get Health Care

Bill Caudle was laid off from his job in March 2009, which resulted in his family losing their health care coverage.
 
 
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One of the worst tragedies of the recession has been people losing their health insurance because they lost their job. Nearly 14,000 Americans lose their insurance every day. Wisconsin father Bill Caudle was laid off from his job at a plastics company in March 2009, which resulted in his family losing their employer-subsidized health care coverage. This put the family in an especially precarious position, because Bill's wife, Michelle, was an ovarian cancer patient. After months of unsuccessfully looking for work, Caudle did the only thing he could to get his wife chemotherapy -- he joined the Army:

Bill needed a job. He needed health benefits. [...]

The Army would solve their health coverage problem. In years past he would have been too old, but in 2005 the age limit for enlistment was increased from 35 to 40, and a year later it was raised again to 42. The tradeoff would be his absence from home.

In the end, although he risked leaving Michelle to fight cancer on her own, Bill chose the Army. He signed on for a job as a signal support systems specialist, a soldier who works with communications equipment.

"Seventy percent of the reason is for the insurance," said Bill’s mother, Marguerite Hemiller. "He told me, 'I've always wanted to do something for my country and I have to help Michelle.'"